Volkswagen is a German car company with worldwide headquarters in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, Germany.
Volkswagen was founded in 1937 by the Nazi trade union, the German Labour Front. At this time, cars were a luxury item in Germany, with only about 1 person in 50 owning a car. The new company had the goal to make cars smaller and more affordable for the average German.
After the war, Volkswagen became an important piece, both economically and symbolically, of West German regeneration.
Volkswagen entered the U.S. market in 1949 with the VW being briefly sold as the Victory Wagon. Volkswagen of America was formed in 1955.
Volkswagen struggled to expand its product line and finally came out with a hit in the U.S. market with the 1974 release of the Golf.
By 1997 Volkswagen was producing the Jetta, New Beetle, SEAT Toledo, SEAT Leon, Audi A3, Audi TT, Skoda Octavia, Polo, Passat, and Corrado models.
Today Volkswagen has three of the ten top-selling cars worldwide: the Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Beetle, and the Volkswagen Passat. The company is a world leader in R&D.
In 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency stated that VW had been installing incorrect or altered ECUs in 2009-2015 diesel-fueled cars to bypass emissions testing. On 11 January 2017, Volkswagen agreed to plead guilty to the emissions-cheating scandal and to pay $4.3 billion in penalties.
On 23 January 2017, a US judge approved a $1.2 billion settlement in which 650 American dealers, “who, like consumers, were blindsided by the brazen fraud that VW perpetrated,” would receive an average of $1.85 million.
The company is trying to put its past mistakes behind them with new ads featuring electric vehicles in 2019.
Volkswagen Group is the parent company to 12 vehicle manufacturers with operations in 153 countries. It designs, manufactures, and distributes passenger and commercial vehicles, engines, motorcycles, and turbo machinery. It is ninth on the Fortune Global 500.
Volkswagen Group has 549,763 employees, 44.8% in Germany and the rest spread all over the world. This number includes Chinese joint ventures. Volkswagen Group had $140 billion in revenue in 2012.